MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Even with two wins to its credit, Kansas State feels it has yet to play a complete game.
Angel Rodriguez scored 19 points and Will Spradling added 14 as Kansas State defeated Lamar 79-55 in a Preseason NIT game on Monday night.
The game got out of hand early as the Wildcats (2-0) took a 43-15 lead into halftime after dominating the paint and capitalizing on 14 first-half turnovers by the Cardinals.
In the Wildcats' season opener against North Dakota on Friday, Kansas State could not manage more than a single-digit lead throughout the first half before eventually coming around for an 85-52 victory.
After Monday's win, Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said he would have liked better effort in the second half, when the Wildcats were outscored 40-36.
However, he seemed satisfied with moving on in the tournament and getting one step closer to the semifinals in Madison Square Garden.
"Was it pretty in the second half? No," Weber said. "But you were up enough where you had a chance to win, and now you've got tomorrow night. We'll see who we play. Our goal obviously is to get to New York."
Donley Minor scored 17 points and Rhon Mitchell 15 for Lamar (0-1).
The Wildcats owned the boards at both ends in the first half, limiting Lamar to five offensive rebounds. The Cardinals had just four second-chance points and were outscored 18-6 in the paint during the first 20 minutes.
Kansas State opened the game with a 15-0 run as Rodriguez and Spradling each drained 3-pointers. Lamar committed six turnovers in the first eight minutes.
"We want to be a defensive team first and then let the offense come to us," Spradling said. "That's what we did in the first half."
In the second half, Rodriguez sparked the Kansas State offense, just as he did after halftime in the season opener against North Dakota on Friday. He finished 6 of 14 from the field and 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.
The Cardinals scored eight straight and cut the deficit to 65-45 with about seven minutes to play. Rodriguez responded with a layup and back-to-back 3-pointers.
The Cardinals found their offensive rhythm after halftime. Minor hit a trio of 3-pointers as he and Stan Brown combined for 22 points in eight minutes — seven more points than the entire team scored in the first half.
"I got on them about taking forced shots," said Lamar coach Pat Knight. "When a team guards you well, you can't take shots off 20 dribbles or off of one pass. I told our guys we've got to work the ball, make them work, drive them, kick it out, go hard to the bucket and play team ball."
Many of the statistical disparities in the halftime box score disappeared by the end of the game. The Wildcats held a 12-rebound advantage after 20 minutes but finished with just three more boards than the smaller Cardinals.
"It's a little disappointing that they win the second half," Weber said. "I thought we shot it too probably too quick in the second half and didn't fight as hard on defense."
On Tuesday, the Wildcats will play either Alabama-Huntsville or North Texas, with the winner advancing to the semifinals in New York.